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News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
June, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 06
Time to Get Creative
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
Currently, there are two factors happening simultaneously that can greatly affect your massage therapy practice. Both are equally important. No article would be complete without talking about the economy.An educated, savvy clientele can also impact the bottom-line. I believe these two factors, the economy and a more educated clientele, are the key factors affecting the practice of every massage therapist. Now is the time to dig deep, think outside the box and be more creative in the ways you approach marketing, client retention and referral programs.
If you read my last article, "Make Your Client's Experience Memorable" (April 2009 issue), you learned that positioning yourself on the side of health care versus personal care, makes you less likely to suffer in this economic down turn. Clients are forgoing some personal care services in effort to save money or redirect spending. But amazingly, health care has not suffered as much. If your massage services are considered health care, chances are you are managing these troubled times and will come out on the other side in good shape. This is all about educating the client and it starts with you.
The general population is also learning more about massage services and complementary health care, in general. They are more educated about the benefits of massage therapy, more discerning and seeking massage more frequently and in higher numbers. In fact, according to the American Massage Therapy Association's 2009 Industry Fact Sheet, 24 percent of American adults received a massage in the last 12 months. They just plain know more. You need to approach them in ways that speak to them; address what they want and need and entice them to use your services.
I believe these two factors, the economy and a more educated clientele, have forced the need for you to go beyond what you are currently doing. Gone are the days when you can rest on your reputation to keep new business coming in. Today you must be creative, passionate and vigilant in the way you pursue new business, keep your existing business coming back for more, and obtain referrals. This can be broken into three categories: marketing - bringing in the new clients; client retention - keeping the clients you have; and referral programs - obtaining new clients from the existing ones.
What creative ways are you marketing your services? Are you marketing health care or personal care? Too often I see massage therapists rely on printed marketing materials to gain new clients. In today's world, printed materials are not as effective, as the marketing platform is already saturated. What "out-of-the-box" method can you use to drum up new business? This past Valentine's Day, I went to my local florist and gave her six complimentary half hour gift certificates (with the ability to upgrade to an hour for an additional $45). I asked her to put the gift certificates in the floral arrangements of her five "high-end" customers, within a geographic area that I prescribed and keep one gift certificate for herself. She loved the idea. It made her arrangements more desirable and special and it got my name out to folks in a very personal way. Nothing beats a personal referral and the florist's recommendation was "golden."
What percentage of your client's reschedule? If you don't know, it is a statistic you should start keeping track of. Shooting for 100 percent is great but probably unrealistic. If you want a full practice, shooting for 85 percent is a good goal. What do you do to keep them coming back? What makes them feel special? Do you ask them to reschedule or at least plant the seed that massage has cumulative benefits? I always do a 24-hour follow-up call with new clients. I tell the client that I will be contacting them the next day. I call to see how they responded to the treatment, how they slept and gather any other information that can help me adjust my treatment next time accordingly. This implies that there will be a next time. The seed is planted. It also means the hour session lasts longer, because I am thinking about them long after the time is up and the payment has been made. The clients get more value for their fee. More value equals happier clients, especially in today's economy. Happier clients mean higher retention.
So now you have new clients coming in and you are keeping them in your practice. You're half way there. What creative method can you use to entice those happy clients to bring in more business? How can you get them to consistently refer? The single best thing I do to get referrals is to turn down tips. YEP ... turn away money. I say, "Thank you so much but the best tip you can give me is the referral of your family and friends." Everyone wins here. Do the math. Would you rather have the $10 now or the $75 from a new client?
If you are struggling with your practice or if you need a jump-start towards more clients, be resourceful. Talk to successful colleagues and find out what they do to boost business. Times are tough and folks are smarter about massage. In order to keep up with these trends, you need to think outside the box. Now is the time to get creative.
Click here for more information about Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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